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This is a self-funded case study using our Packaging Testing solution.
Newman’s Own recently undertook a significant overhaul of its iconic condiments packaging, and while no one would begrudge them of it, the refresh didn’t exclusively relate to elevating the brand’s notable charitable endeavors. After all, however admirable the initiative, the evidence shows that people will still first and foremost prioritize themselves; meaning, the product still ultimately needs to deliver on basic consumer needs. The added feel-good benefits of profits going toward a brand’s philanthropic efforts then provides the cherry on top of the decision-making cake.
Newman’s Own’s intentions were to “connect with a new generation of consumers while introducing them to its philanthropic drive.” With this in mind, creative agency Turner Duckworth delivered a slew of changes to the iconic pack, including a new logo, updated imagery, greater utilization of color, as well as a number of other informational tweaks and additions.
So, did these changes deliver the contemporary ‘glow up’ Newman’s Own were hoping for? And, just as importantly, did the brand’s charitable endeavors remain as salient and compelling? We tested the Newman against the Oldman using our 3Cs methodology to find out:
People enjoyed the addition of vibrant colors to the range which helped more clearly distinguish each variant. Together with the flattened logo, this helped simplify and clarify the visual hierarchy of information. However, while the contemporary approach proved equally likable as its predecessor, departing from the fun outfits (inspired by each respective flavor variant) caused the perceived originality of the pack to be somewhat dampened.
The new aesthetic was slightly less synergistic with what people have come to expect from Newman’s Own. With the old design’s whimsical outfits an approach unlike anyone else in the category, it provided Newman’s Own with an unmistakable branding device. That said, despite losing this highly recognizable visual property, the packaging overhaul did work better to spotlight the brand’s wordmark. Combined with more consistent use of imagery and iconography across each variant, the new packaging provided a more cohesive front to shoppers, making the range more noticeable and easier to navigate on-shelf.
By placing Paul Newman front and center and prominently hero-ing the tagline "Let's give it all away," the brand made its longstanding commitment to philanthropy the central focus. Additionally, the typographic and wording tweaks in the charity call-out further strengthened the brand's association with youth-based charities, subsequently resulting in a stronger emotional connection being built. On the flipside, the old design’s more traditional cues elevated the product’s perceived authenticity, subsequently evoking stronger impressions of versatility and quality.
As is often the case with packaging redesigns, it’s a zero-sum game. In other words, it’s infrequent that a new design will outperform an existing one, so simply reaching the benchmark is the measure of success marketers should be aiming for. Why? Because while tweaks and additions offer advantages and benefits that didn’t previously exist (the whole reason for undertaking a redesign in the first place!), at the same time they almost always create downsides (or barriers) by taking focus away from elements that were previously important drivers of behavior.
The new pack's emphasis on charity successfully elevated higher-order benefits; however, this came at the expense of how strongly it conveyed authenticity and quality. Emotional benefits can be a powerful driver of behavior, but it’s always heightened when paired with functional advantages (something Lunchables achieved with their recent redesign).
Brands that are genuinely purpose-driven have a powerful message (and point of difference) to tell, but this can’t ultimately come to the detriment of the product’s delivery on core category needs. So, Patagonia must still provide effective outdoor clothing, Tom's must offer comfortable shoes, and Newman's Own must offer tasty and high-quality dressings. Overall, the Newman’s Own redesign delivered to a sufficient level to be comfortable that the change will result in little disruption to shoppers’ routines and ultimate behavior.